The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has revealed that UK food and drink exports to the EU in the first two months of 2021, are down more than £1.1 billion.

For the month of February 2021, exports were down more than a fifth, driven by a fall in sales to the EU of 40.9% compared to February 2020, a drop of nearly £400 million.

Exports of the UK’s top 10 products all fell, except whiskey. The dairy and meat sectors were worst impacted, with sales of milk and cream to the EU down 96%, cheese down nearly two thirds, and chicken and beef down by more than three quarters.

Exports to most EU member states fell significantly, with exports to Ireland down more than 70%, and exports to Germany, Spain and Italy by around 50%.

Dominic Goudie, head of international trade at the FDF, said:

“While UK food and drink exports to the EU have improved from a 76% fall in January, they are still down nearly 41% in February 2021.

“Exports to our biggest market, Ireland, have also dropped more than two thirds.

UK businesses continue to struggle with inconsistent and incorrect demands at EU borders, and small businesses have been hardest hit due to the collapse of groupage distribution into the EU.

“New EU import requirements for composite products entered into force this week, adding even greater complexity, cost and uncertainty for UK exporters.

“It is essential that the EU-UK Partnership Council and its Trade Specialised Committees are convened to urgently address problems with the implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement to ensure small businesses are not shut out of trade by this trade deal,” he concluded.